New Nikon D3300 and new to photography

edited July 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3300 Forum
Hi all,

My name is Gareth and I've just purchased my first proper camera in a D3300. I had a bit of a browse, and it had really great reviews as an entry level, so that's what swayed my decision. I'm a total novice at this stuff so hoping it's not too steep of a learning curve.

I'm really looking for some good basic hints, tips, and advice as to how to get the most out of this camera, and I hope to be able to share my progress with you all along the way.

Thanks for reading this post and I'm grateful for any advice.


  • edited July 2016
    I'm in the same situation. I just ordered mine and it should be here in a couple of weeks. I'm going to get the cheat sheets, but I'm interested in other tips.
  • The cheat sheets and other basic lessons on line about the principles of exposure will help a lot.

    I will add some of my usual bits as well:

    First, make sure you download the complete and unabridged instructions from the PDF file, because the printed book for some models at least is not complete.

    Download the Nikon software if you do not have sophisticated image software you already like. Then shoot Raw files, which allow a great deal more post processing without changing the underlying file. Raw files allow you to correct exposure, picture control (color set) and white balance, and to revert if you make a mistake.

    Remember this is a digital camera and good for years of intense shooting. Do not be afraid to shoot lots of duds and erase them. If you have a question about how a setting changes things, try it. Shoot the books on the book case or the flowers in the pot, and see how different settings change the picture. I've had my D3200 for a couple of years, have traveled to exotic places and taken thousands and thousands of pictures, firing with abandon. For all that, my shutter count is just a little over 30 thousand, on a camera with a predicted shutter life of three to five times that. Fire away!

    Become as familiar as you can with the mechanics of the camera and its menus. Whether or not you get your pictures right, or make good ones, you will always be better off if you know where things are, and how to do things. If you don't have to fumble, you will have time to shoot.

    The sooner you can get out of "auto" mode and take control of things, the better. The cheat sheets will help with this, by providing a pre-tested selection of manual settings that work. The sooner you understand why they work and how small changes change things, the sooner you can take complete control, derive your own settings for new situations, and settle on favorite combinations.
  • edited November 2016
    I'm new as well. I noticed there isn't a "tips" for a 70-300mm lens. Is that because it would be similar to the 50-200mm or it's not recommended or common? Just curious before I make a zoom lens. Thanks in advance for the advice.
  • edited November 2016
    I would guess the tips for the 55-300mm lens would be pretty close to the 70-300mm. I think the 70-300mm is a little more robustly made, probably faster focusing, and usable on full frame or DX, while the 55-300mm is DX only. If you get a good deal on the 70-300mm and don't mind the possible gap between 55mm and 70mm (which is really quite minor) it's likely to be good. Although it does not have a wider aperture than the 55-300mm it's said to have better auto focus. I think they're pretty close in image quality, which is to say a bit soft at 300mm, but not bad. I have the 55-300mm and it's decent all the way through, but softens a little above about 250mm. It has the advantage of being very compact and light, and the disadvantage of having a rotating front element that makes polarizing filters a pain to use. I've dropped mine a couple of times, and though it's far from pro grade, it's not fragile.

    If you have ambitions of going to full frame in the near future, the 70-300 is useable on FX. If not, however, it's a non-issue.
  • @mjvanommeren - If you have the 70-300mm with VR, then it will be compatible with the 55-300mm set. All the best!
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